Vietnamese Chicken Curry
photo by recipe author

Servings: 8-10
Preparation Time:  1- 1.5 hours


  • Annatto Seed Oil (For a more authentic dish. The oil gives an attractive red color and slight nutty flavor)
  • 3 tablespoons annatto seed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb potatoes
  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2-3 inches pieces
  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), cut into 2-3 inches pieces
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 3-4 inches, cut lengthwise, smashed/bruised to release more fragrance
  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), cut into 2-3 inches pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups coconut milk*
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons good black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Chicken Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good black pepper
  • juice of half a lime.
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • thai chillies, for garnish
  • toasted baguettes or steamed white rice

For Annatto Oil (if using): Heat oil on a pan on medium-low heat. Add annatto seeds and stir. As you keep stirring, the seed will release a rich red color. Strain and discard the seed. Be careful of the hot oil!

Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil on a pan on medium heat. Stir-fry potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots until lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a deep pot on medium heat. Stir-fry onion, garlic, curry powder and lemongrass until fragrant. Add in annatto oil (if using), chicken, salt and fry until brown. (Lower heat if needed)

Add coconut milk, chicken stock, bay leaves into the pot. Adjust the amount and ratio of coconut milk and stock on your preference. For a creamier, more decadent curry, add 3 cups of coconut milk to 2 cups of stock and vice versa. Add more or less liquid depends whether you prefer curry with more sauce/broth or less.

Add potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots. Everything should be submerged in the stock.

Bring curry into a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken, potatoes, and carrot are tender and stock has reduced.

Add salt, pepper and/or sugar to your taste.

Garnish with cilantro and red thai chilies. Serve hot with toasted baguettes or steamed white rice or rice noodles.

For the dipping sauce: combine everything and stir.

* For the freshest coconut milk make homemade coconut milk. (See video at this link.)

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